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Tel Aviv Residents Skeptical Of Rocket Attack Consequences

Lior Haykeen |
November 15, 2012 | 4:42 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

For many Tel Aviv residents, life went on as usual after war sirens went off Thursday.
For many Tel Aviv residents, life went on as usual after war sirens went off Thursday.
Tamara Ben Natan, 20, was just getting out of the shower when war sirens struck Tel Aviv for the first time in 20 years Thursday.

It was the first war siren she had ever heard. 

"I was still wrapped in my towel. I thought, 'someone's playing a prank on me,'" the Tel Aviv native said.

Only about 24 hours after Hamas's Chief of Military Ahmad Jabari was killed, Ben Natan found herself wondering how to act when threatened by missiles.

Young Tel Aviv residents have not seen many wars in their days. Their city is known as "the bubble" amongst other Israelis, because they are rarely affected by much of the violence in the rest of the country.

Before today, Tel Aviv was last hit by missiles in the Gulf War of 1991.

Ben Natan peeked through her door and saw some neighbors exiting their apartments. They looked at each other in shock, and giggled in embarrassment, she said.

"We went down the stairs to the second floor, because that's what we were told to do in case of a war siren," she said. "Some neighbors were sarcastically commenting on how odd it is to hear the siren here. We don't really know how to deal with this stuff."

After standing in the stairwell for a few minutes, and hearing a couple of explosion sounds, Ben Natan returned to her apartment. 

"A half-hour later, all the coffee shops were filled with people," she said. "We're definitely keeping an eye on the news, but not panicking yet. You can still see people out in the streets with a cigarette in one hand and a late in the other."

Many Tel Aviv apartment buildings are not equipped with a war shelter, and their occupiers are expected to use a community shelter sponsored by the government in a state of threat. But Israel's Home Front Command has yet to require Tel Aviv's municipality to open shelters for civilians. 

Residents feel uncomfortable with the lack of war shelters, and continue to plead with the city of Tel Aviv to open doors of war shelters and make sure the shelters are equipped well, according to Israel's Yediot Acharonot

"My mom got very nervous," said 25-year-old Israeli Sagi Azran. "But I can tell you that not much has changed here. The only thing that affected me personally is the fact that my gym was closed." 

Despite many people's displays of tranquility, some restaurants and bars in the heart of Tel Aviv remain empty, which is atypical for a Thursday night, Yediot Acharonot reported. 

Now, that Iron Dome has hit Tel Aviv, some residents look forward to a ceasefire more than ever before.

"This has been a weak business day for us," a young Israeli-Arab working in a Tel Aviv sushi restaurant told Yediot Acharonot. "The war is… affecting us, Arabs, too. We hope for peace."


Reach Reporter Lior Haykeen here



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